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Press Release

IRC: Decision to Suspend U.S. Refugee Resettlement is Hasty and Harmful

New Administration Should Quickly Engage to Understand Already-Strong U.S. Vetting Process

Updated 
  • The IRC Will Continue to Provide Resettlement Support to Refugees Admitted to the United States and Humanitarian Aid to Those Who Remain Displaced in War Zones

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) called today’s suspension of the U.S. resettlement program a “harmful and hasty” decision that would impact thousands of innocent people – mostly women and children – awaiting resettlement to the United States. This decision stalls refugees and displaced people worldwide hoping to resettle and rebuild their lives in a new country. 

 “America has the strongest, most successful resettlement program in the world,” said IRC President and CEO David Miliband. “Certified by successive administrations, the U.S. resettlement program makes it harder to get to the United States as a refugee than any other route. This is one of many reasons to deplore the hasty decision made today.”  

The IRC encouraged the Administration to quickly engage with the real expertise in agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase their knowledge of the current resettlement vetting process, and to better understand who refugees are. Decisions regarding any new procedures should then be made based on those experts’ advice and information gathered.

 “In truth, refugees are fleeing terror – they are not terrorists,” said Miliband. “And at a time when there are more refugees than ever, America must remain true to its core values. America must remain a beacon of hope.”   

Before resettling to the United States, refugees undergo an in-depth process that includes up to 36 months of vetting – including biometric screening – by 12 to 15 government agencies. The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. intelligence partners have a long history of safeguarding the integrity of the resettlement program, including regular reviews of protocols.

The IRC said that it will continue to provide refugees of all faiths and nationalities with resettlement support in the United States and critical humanitarian relief in countries where the ban will take hold.

The order was issued on Holocaust Remembrance Day, a reminder of the enduring need to provide refuge for vulnerable populations. “This is no time for America to turn its back on people ready to become patriotic Americans,” said Miliband. “We call on the Administration to rethink this move and to emulate the support and generosity shown by Americans in the 29 U.S. communities in which we work.”   

Visit here for more information on the thorough refugee vetting process.

IRC spokespeople are available for interviews.

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About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 29 U.S. cities helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.